Instagram Stories received its first major update, adding another feature borrowed from Snapchat: one-finger zoom for better and easier camera control.
Instagram launched its Snapchat Stories clone earlier this month, aptly calling the feature Instagram Stories. It's the same overall model as Snapchat's, with the same ephemeral story scheme that deletes Stories after 24 hours. In fact, there are so many similarities that many wondered whether Instagram Stories actually offers anything different from Snapchat Stories.
With the latest update, Instagram Stories takes yet another page out of Snapchat's book, adding the ability to zoom in on video while recording, as well as switch between the front and rear cameras while recording. Both of these tricks are identical to Snapchat's.
To zoom in while recording video footage for Instagram Stories, simply place your finger on the shutter button and drag up. To zoom back out, simply drag down. Snapchat added the one-finger zoom control back in May.
To seamlessly switch between the front and rear camera while recording a video for Instagram Stories, you can simply double-tap on the screen, and the camera will instantly switch mid-video.
The update is not exactly subtle, but Instagram is gunning for Snapchat and trying to lure as many Snapchatters to its platform as possible. Competition is heating up between the two, however, and many are pointing out that Instagram is just playing copycat.
A Twitter post in which Instagram announced its new one-finger zoom option stirred a lot of mixed reactions, and while some welcomed the feature and suggested other improvements Instagram could make, others criticized Instagram for its blatant copying of Snapchat Stories.
@instagram Cool, exactly like Snapchat. Another nail in the pointless coffin for Instagram Stories.
— Lewis Co. (@funkadunkalunk) August 15, 2016
Considering that the whole concept of Instagram Stories is borrowed from Snapchat, however, it's not exactly a surprise to see another feature ported over from its rival.
It remains to be seen whether Instagram will manage to attract more users to its Stories, as it's too early to tell for now. The update also brings some bug fixes and tweaks to improve the experience, and it's now available for Android and iOS.
If you'd rather see Instagram Stories on the web, meanwhile, there's an unofficial Chrome extension that lets you do just that, although it takes away the "ephemeral" charm by allowing virtually any user to download the videos their friends post on Stories.
Have you used Instagram Stories yet? If so, what do you think of it? Drop by our comments section below and share your thoughts on the matter.